RDA has over 500 groups in the UK, and even more worldwide. They received a £6,000 grant from The Wesleyan Foundation to support their horse riding sessions for people with disabilities of all ages, offering the chance of therapy, achievement and enjoyment.
It’s a chilly Monday morning and Donna Jenkins, Group Organiser for Stratford-upon-Avon’s Riding for the Disabled (RDA) group, is pouring out the hot drinks.
“I used to ride, but I had a bad accident. My friends introduced me to an RDA group in Norwich and I started volunteering with them but had to relocate.
“I thought ‘what’s the best way to get to know people?’, I found my nearest RDA Group!” She’s been involved with the group for over 20 years.
A young lady, Jess, is riding within the confides of the indoor school. Her father, Andy, is looking on with pride:
“She’s been coming for just over two years. She’s gradually improved, and she’s been able to progress.
“When she’s unsure about a situation her hand’s go up, but with the constant movement from the horse and the encouragement from the volunteers it’s almost been a natural thing for her to take the reins!”
Jo has been involved with RDA for 7 years, and volunteering for 6 and a half.
“What don’t I get out of riding!?
“I have a progressive neurological condition, it’s untreatable. I suffer constant pain, except when I ride. Riding takes the weight off my spine where most of my problems are.
“I’ve had a lot of support from the group, I’ve been given the chance to do things I used to love. I couldn’t possibly have done it without them, I’m part of a community.”
Although Jo is thriving and enjoying her time it’s not always been so straight forward:
“As you get older with a disability there’s less and less you can do.
“A lot of things aren’t suitable and are arranged for children, which is fair enough because they’ve got their whole lives to live. The older you get the less you can join in with but at RDA that’s immaterial.
“They’ve given me so much, it’s great to have this opportunity!”
If you’d like to apply for funding please view our Available Grants here.